We walked into an outdoor gear specialty store in Charleston and both stopped in our tracks when we saw this vest. I don’t think we’ve ever debated the purchase of a garment for so long. Something about it just really spoke to us.
I suggested that I make each of us an inspired vest in our company, HippieShine, color palette (or as close to it as I could find). We also wanted the vests to be something that was more practical for our milder temperatures. Down-filled outerwear isn’t something we need very often.
I’ve never made a garment like this, but it seemed simple enough… so I started sourcing my materials.
Through research, I determined that 1.9-ounce nylon ripstop would be a great fabric to work with. I found a great source at Fabric Wholesale Direct. Their prices and selection are incredible. You can order it with a waterproof coating or without.
As an aside, ripstop nylon is a great material for face masks. It is breathable and acts as a better filter than woven cotton!
The inspiration vest is very puffy as each quilted channel is filled with down feathers. It was far beyond my interest or capabilities to stuff our vests so I began looking at batting options. My main priority was breathability. Although it was far fluffier, I steered away from high-loft polyester batting and purchased Quilter’s Dream Orient Blend, made of natural fibers – silk, bamboo, cotton, and tencel. It is very breathable and has great drape. I used two layers of batting to give my vest a bit more loft.
I used the Trailblazer Vest from Twig and Tale. It was fairly easy to hack for the stripes, but the front seams were a bit of a challenge to work with – just in trying to keep the stripes lined up. This was the first pattern that I’ve made from Twig and Tale, but quickly bought the Forester Coat afterwards. The drafting of these patterns is impeccable. I want to make another puffer from the coat pattern.
I didn’t make any alterations to the patterns, but did quilt my fabric before cutting out the pattern pieces. If you do it otherwise, you run the risk of your fabric drawing up because of the loft of the batting and making your pieces smaller. It was very time consuming, but oh-so worth it.
I can’t tell you how many comments we get on these vests! And how many people have asked to order one. I figure between the quilting and construction, $300 is a fair price. Ha-ha!
We absolutely love our Trailblazer vests. If I had the patience to make them in other colors, we’d have 15 each!
Let me know what questions you have. I’ll be happy to share my resources.